Frozen stars, a Universe of hydrogen, and Pluto

by | Jun 11, 2014 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

We have three exciting online classes coming up in June and July! Join us and learn about black holes, how we can study the Universe using hydrogen gas, and the frozen bodies — Pluto and its cousins — at the icy edge of our Solar System.

Introduction to black holes

One of the most distant black holes we’ve yet observed: the quasar 3c186. [Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/A.Siemiginowska et al. Optical: AURA/Gemini Obs.]

Soviet researchers, who only had sporadic and limited communication with their Western colleagues, independently worked out much of the theory behind black holes — but they called them “frozen stars”. In many ways, that term is far more apt than “black hole”, but whatever you want to call them, these are some of the weirdest, most fascinating objects in the cosmos. Sign up today!

Meeting times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9–10 PM US Eastern time (6-7 PM US Pacific time)

Instructor: Matthew R. Francis

Course dates:

  1. Monday, June 16
  2. Wednesday, June 18
  3. Monday, June 23
  4. Wednesday, June 25

The cosmos in 21 centimeters

The most common type of atom in the Universe is hydrogen. As such, tracing the location of these atoms can tell us a lot about the structure of galaxies. To do this, we need to use radio light, and particularly the 21-centimeter wavelength, which corresponds to the flipping of the electron spin inside a hydrogen atom. Sign up today!

Meeting times: Wednesdays, 9–10 PM US Eastern time (6-7 PM US Pacific time)

Instructor: Kathryn Williamson

Course dates:

  • Wednesday, July 2
  • Wednesday, July 9
  • Wednesday, July 16
  • Wednesday, July 30 (no meeting July 23)

Pluto and the icy moons

The moons of Uranus and Neptune strongly resemble Pluto: they are bodies of ice and rock far from the Sun. Understanding their structure, formation, and orbits is a way to study the outer Solar System — in particular its history and evolution. Sign up today!

Meeting times: Thursdays, 9–10 PM US Eastern time (6-7 PM US Pacific time)

Instructor: Angela Zalucha

Course dates:

  • Thursday, July 10
  • Thursday, July 17
  • Thursday, July 24
  • Thursday, July 31

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